Time to read: Less than 1 minute.
The Moth Story Slam was last night. It was one of the most amazing nights of my life.
Here's how it works: You put your name in a hat and then before each story teller leaves the stage, they draw the name of the next story teller. So, you don't know if you will get to tell your story until it's your turn. Then each story is rated by a panel of audience judges like the Olympics - 9.5, 8.4, 7.9. (Don't even get me started on how much I hate to be judged. Thank you negative ego.)
I was #7 of 10 story tellers, which is a good strategic spot. You don't want to be first when the judges haven't calibrated a good story yet. And last is not great, because the audience is tired.
When they called my name, I floated to the stage. The lights blinded my ability to see the audience, which was good. The story was ready through diligent feedback (thanks, Anne!) and practicing (thanks to my dog for listening over and over). Telling the story was like being in a state of conscious unconsciousness - deeply present, completely immersed, and separated from the reality that there were 200 people in that bar. They laughed. They clapped. They cheered. It was incredible.
The moment was a triumph over terror into joy. And as always, I think about what this experience means to you. Here it is:
- Do that thing that you've always wanted to do. Even if it terrifies you.
- Find your negative ego boring. In the week leading up to last night, I started to fixate on my fear and anxiety (courtesy of my negative ego). What if I freeze on stage? What if no one likes my story? After a couple of days of this, I decided not to indulge my addiction to worry and simply replaced it with visions of getting on that stage and having fun.
- It takes discipline to push past fear. The fear and anxiety lurked around the edges regularly. Living free from fear takes a thousand small reminders and choices. You have to choose it.
- Living free is worth the work. Doing the work to push past your fear and live big is worth it. I'm higher than a kite today. It's amazing.
To top off the night, I won.
It was a victory to muster the courage to walk into that bar. (Remember when I couldn't even click the link on The Moth website?) It was enough that I got on that stage. Now I get to move on to tell another story from the Guthrie Theater stage in October among the 10 winners of the other slams.
Many of you have emailed to ask how it went. A couple of Corporate Rebels surprised me by coming last night. (Thank you, Adam and Cheryl - You're the best!) I'll post the recording from the Moth in a few weeks.
Thanks to everyone who as emailed and held space and cheered. It means a lot to me.
I can't wait to hear about your triumph!
With rebel love,
P.S. Do you know someone with a dream (and the subsequent paralysis from fear)? Send them this newsletter. I hope my journey from terror to victory will inspire them to take the first step. They can join here.